2015 – Looking Ahead and a Glance Back

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This year looks set to be an exciting one. With my first proper resolutions made I intend to make the most of it! I mention my New Year’s Resolutions a little further down, but first a reflection on the year just gone.

2014 was a totally incredible year for me, and probably one of the best I have had for quite a while.

Firstly, I set up this blog in March last year, having previously spent about four months on Blogger.com before finding WordPress to be far easier in gathering an audience. Since it has been nearly a year, I would like to thank everyone who has taken time to share, read and enjoy what I have written here.

My blog has provided me with opportunities I could never imagine. Probably one of the most significant was being asked by a tutor a university if I would like to be a Stringer for the BBC as part of their Scottish referendum coverage.

I fed news back to the BBC HQ in Glasgow from my base in Falkirk, giving the latest on turnout, atmosphere and results. It was an experience I will never forget, and I am now set up to report on the General Election in May!

Secondly, my blog has also attracted attention from actual politicians. I was greatly honoured to be asked by a prospective (now elected) candidate for MP of my constituency for the General Election to meet and discuss issues facing the area. Now they have been selected, they are willing to meet for an on the record interview for the blog and the local paper. An exclusive? Hopefully!

On another side of my career I became a qualified gym instructor and, after a few months of voluntary work, landed a job as a Casual Fitness Officer at the University of Stirling’s Gannochy Sports Centre. It is a job I have wanted for some time, and to now have it and be able to work for such a great institution and with great people as a true honour.

As the year went by I was disappointed by the lack of Munros the family and I managed to climb. I think we hit six out of our annual goal of ten, which was a shame, but time, the weather and general organisation were not really on our side. Yet in hindsight it was a fantastic year for hillwalking too!

Climbing the Aonach Eagach Ridge was definitely one of the highlights of the year, which is also where the header photo for this blog was taken! Ironically in the background of the photo is Bidean Nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach (two of the Three Sisters) which were our next big climbs.

These too were incredible hills, with an insane view over the whole of Glen Coe, and over Rannoch Moor. On the top of Stob Coire Sgreamhach we came across a group of hillwalkers who were scattering the ashes of one of their late members. A very good natured bunch of people who I wish all the best for.

The Three Sisters will also be forever imprinted in my memory for when I fell on the descent, bursting open my fingers and splitting a few nails in half. Then again – it’s all part of the fun!

Finally, the year Scotland came alive! The referendum and its aftermath, the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup, the anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn – all together made 2014 an insane year for Scottish culture, politics, and history. Not to mention the year politics generally seemed to come to life again!

Minority parties like UKIP, the Greens and the SNP have made surges this year. Immigration has come to the fore as a major political issue. The EU has had its name in the headlines more than most years. Bacon sandwiches, Russell Brand, disestablishment thinking, it has been wild!

Now we are in 2015, and no we still do not have Hover Boards or time-travelling DeLoreans yet, but we will get there!

Looking ahead 2015 should be just as good a year as 2015, if not more exciting!

The General Election, and hopefully going to the USA to study abroad for a semester are just two of the highlights! I mean, who knows what will happen in the States?!

Now we come to the New Year’s Resolutions. I have never been one for resolutions. I think my problem has been that I have always lived by some imaginary rule book for living, almost like Emmett and his instructions in the Lego Movie.

Commonwealth Games logo in George Square, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

What I forget to do, and have for a while, is to have fun. Life is for living after all, and instead of doing the whole up at 7am, breakfast, university, home, study, dinner, bed, repeat, I hope to make this year one where things go a little differently so here they are, my first proper resolutions.

1) Learn French again

I got a book for Christmas called 712 More Things To Write About (a book we shall return to). In it it says: “Write down your dream life”. As I wrote I sat and thought ‘what am I actually doing to get to this?’

It was a really disappointing moment. What am I doing to get to my life of being a writer, living in France, having a nice house in the Rhône Alpes, and having a family? Nothing! This was the precursor to some of the other things in my resolutions.

Firstly, French. I took French in High School. Did well, and dropped it for Higher Physics. Which I failed. Now I am reinvigorated to learn the beautiful language again – one I took to very easily, and still remember the fundamentals of today after four years.

2) Write MORE! Think creatively!

712 More Things to Write About. That is a lot to go on! I used to write quite often as a kid, but from about S6 onwards I pretty much surrendered all imagination for set reason and logic. Thinking in facts is not always that helpful.

I hope the book will help me think more creatively, and lose that feeling of having a fence around my imagination. Even if it is just a story that is spun from someone else’s creation that doesn’t matter! Practice makes perfect, and only with time will original ideas come to the fore.

3) Resourceful 

Basically – work more! Have more resources! Working more will just get me out of being a sort of shell, and having a cooshy life. Manning up a little bit and earning more money will give greater responsibility, and greater opportunities to go places!

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4) SOCIALISE!

Now, it is not often that people say “I will drink more alcohol” in the New Year’s Resolutions, but I guess I am sort of saying that…sort of.

What is probably more central to this is I need to socialise more. I spend a lot of time just sort of not begin around people. I have always lived by this rule that going out with friends means getting drunk, and that is somehow a terrible thing.

Last year I can see where I was coming from. I was just getting on the road to getting a decent physique back, and the old argument that booze will ruin your life was a genuine concern of mine.

However, now I am more laid back about the gym, and more interested in being with friends (and having a girlfriend), I am up for a pub crawl. So, if you have got this far and want to be the first to get me drunk, the bidding is now open.

5) Chill Out!

Lastly, chill out! Relax. Not everything needs to be done by the rule book, and don’t stress about things you don’t need to!

This last point is in reference to the gym. In the last few months I feel as though I am going to the gym because I should, not because I want to. Sure, exercise is something everyone should do, but I know I will always be doing something so forcing myself to do something I don’t need to is not conducive.

Am I going to be a bodybuilder? No. A powerlifter? No. What I want to be is fit, healthy and decent looking. That is it! I could go hillwalking every day because I love it, but too much of a good thing is not always best!

I have set myself as going to the gym three times a week, and going cycling, running, or hillwalking as often as I like.

What I need to do, importantly, is just chill. Enjoy myself! I am at university for an experience as well as to learn, so I should make the most of it!

To wrap it up…

If you got this far – WELL DONE! I hope you enjoyed this blog, and will continue reading this year! I wish you all the best for 2015. Have a good one!

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